Families Speak Out About WDBJ Shooting Victims

"They were just bright and shining stars who brought so much joy."

08/27/2015 08:12 am ET | Updated Aug 27, 2015

Family, friends and colleagues of the two journalists shot dead on live TV spoke openly on Thursday about their grief. 

Alison Parker, a reporter for Roanoke, Virginia's WDBJ, and cameraman Adam Ward died early Wednesday. 

Chris Hurst, an anchor for WDBJ and Parker's boyfriend, described their last moments together. "I am happy to know that yesterday, when I sent her off -- basically I would come off from doing the 11 o'clock news and would make her breakfast and pack her lunch and give her a kiss goodbye as she drove off in her car, and that was the last that I saw her," he told Today. "It was a great morning."

Hurst also appeared on WDBJ early Thursday to talk about Parker, saying that he was "privileged and lucky" to be with her.

The network continued to cover the shooting on Thursday, thanking viewers for their support and airing a moment of silence for Parker and Ward.

"We'll remember them this morning with tears, but also with smiles too, and even some laughter," said anchor Kimberly McBroom. "They were just bright and shining stars who brought so much joy." She described Parker and Hurst as "the perfect couple."

Station Manager Jeff Marks denied allegations that the victims had racially discriminated against the shooter, a former employee of the station.

"There's not a hateful bone in [Parker's] body," Marks told Good Morning America. "It couldn't have happened."  

Marks told an MSNBC reporter on Wednesday that the two were a positive presence in the newsroom.

"If I walked into the office in the morning and the first person I saw was either Adam or Alison, I got a smile on my face because they were always that way," he said. "I never saw them down."

Parker's father vowed to fight for better gun control laws.  

"I'm going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation -- to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns," Andy Parker said Wednesday night. He told CNN on Thursday that he would be "the John Walsh of gun control."

The husband of shooting victim Vicki Gardner told Today that he had been watching the broadcast live when the shooting happened. Gardner, the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was shot while she was being interviewed during the fatal broadcast, but survived after having emergency surgery. 

"I immediately tried to call her on her cell phone," said Tim Gardner. "There was no response. The next time I spoke to her was when she called me from the ambulance; [a] pretty bad few minutes."

Gardner said that his wife "remembers everything that happened." She is being treated at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and was upgraded to good condition on Thursday morning, WDBJ reported.

This post has been updated with a quote from Jeff Marks' appearance on MSNBC and a quote from Andy Parker.

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